Stress: a state of mind

Everyone talks about being stressed, overwhelmed and anxious. The pharmaceutical and alcohol industries pray that you stay way. We know that unrelenting stress can lead to physical and emotional problems such as hypertension, ulcers, migraines and depression. But what is stress exactly? Is it tangible? Is stress a traffic jam, money or relationship problems?

The way people commonly refer to stress you would think it would at least be something you could see or touch. Maybe stress is more like the common cold; feels lousy for a while, then it either goes away or perhaps you just get distracted and stop thinking about it.

My clients learn that stress is a point of view, or a perspective. Two people experiencing the same situation can respond in very different ways. What pushes the stress button in one person can have no effect on another. So it’s not the situation or event but rather how it is perceived or interpreted.

To take it a step further; everytime someone with the fear of flying, takes off in an airplane, and experiences panic, the phobia becomes more deeply rooted. Over time, with repetition, the fear can spread. Soon the person feels uncomfortable driving to the airport, then he or she experiences discomfort just booking the flight, and then just the initial thought of taking the trip to begin with, can provoke a stressful response.

The bad news is that with repetition fear can spread and become deeply rooted; the good news is that the opposite is also an option. Relaxing confidence can become just as automatic, you can’t have one without the other. Think of the subconscious as a greenhouse, you can grow roses or poison ivy with equal efficiency.

Hypnosis is the only way to clean out your inner house, to uproot and delete the problem patterns, and to then plant the seeds supporting new preferred alternatives. By repeating the hypnotic process daily for a couple of months, the new patterns become just as deeply rooted as the problem patterns were.

My clients experience a series of sessions offering a variety of creatively effective techniques supporting healthy change. Most have never previously tried hypnosis, inspite of this the overwhelming majority feel a significant emotional release from whatever problem they had when they arrived. If you are struggling with a problem please consider hypnosis. It’s a powerful tool that’s easy to do and it feels fantastic.

By: Paul Gustafson RN CH

Depression vs. sadness

There is clinical depression which requires medical intervention and often times long-term medication management.  There are many people who wrestle with symptoms of depression which unfortunately are also routinely treated with medication.

I see individuals in my hypnosis practice who have been struggling for years or even decades with difficult situations, and overtime, they often experience chronic sadness, stress, insomnia, and depression-like symptoms.  Unfortunately the treatment of choice for these individuals is the same for those with clinical depression.

The wonderful benefit of hypnosis is that we have access to a profoundly deep level of thought. In deep-trance hypnosis individuals are guided to cathartically release past struggles, and to begin imagining solutions, strategies, and the success that they want to experience.

This forward thinking imagery is called future-pace technique and this is why it is so effective.  The subconscious does not know the difference between what is real or imagined.  So during hypnosis, the client is guided to envision how all their ultimate success will look and feel.

Clients receive a recording of the session for home reinforcement.  With the repetition, listening to sessions every day, the subconscious begins to establish inner changes supporting what it perceives as a new reality.

Whenever personal struggle the individual has endured that led to the chronic sadness is re-framed in a new light.  It’s amazing how quickly the one’s perspective can change as a result of such a deep mindful moment.  Problems once thought to be insurmountable are quickly seen more as temporary and manageable.

Regardless of the problems a client may carry into my office on their first visit, most feel surprisingly disconnected and free of the problem at the conclusion of the session.  Without repetition, that feeling of freedom is momentary.  By repeating the process daily for a couple of months the space between the new you and the old you continues to grow.

By: Paul Gustafson RN CH

Stress client’s first office visit

I recently had a 32 yr old client, Bob who struggles to find a comfortable life path. His parents divorced when he was very young and since then he has always wrestled with an undercurrent of anxiety, stress and fear.

Bob is intelligent and well read and he has explored mindfulness, meditation and pursued formal hypnosis sessions on a couple of occasions, but has never been able to crack the code to contentment.

My initial observation of Bob was how he seemed to be trapped in this difficult cycle of thought, stuck in the battle, unable to break free. I see this frequently with clients and even experience it myself. We get tracked in emotional patterns and overtime they take on a life of their own. As years go by these patterns become deeply rooted, leading individuals to feeling powerless and trapped.

After giving Bob about 30 minutes to ‘off load’ his story, I explained my theory of patterns and roots, and suggested he view hypnosis as a relaxing way of doing some internal gardening. I told Bob the reason he has struggled for so long is because he was only trimming his problems at the ground level. Whatever approach he used offered a temporary reprieve, but the problems always popped through the surface again. I explained to Bob that this is why diets fail; they are temporary conscious level changes with problems on a much deeper level.

Bob’s previous hypnosis experience was a total failure. Unfortunately there are way too many hypnotic hacks in this field receiving exorbitant rates in exchange for substandard service. He was charged $150 to sit in a woman’s office and listen to a CD. After learning of his experience I was surprised and delighted that he chose to give hypnosis another try.

I assured Bob that not only would I be conducting a live session, but that we would record it so he could revisit his in-office experience at home. The session I chose employed deep trance hypnotic techniques, which enabled Bob to descend beneath the stress and worry. Once I was satisfied that Bob was sufficiently relaxed, I used some pretty simple release therapy techniques that offered him a way to free himself from the past.

Once he imagined the suggested freedom, he was then guided to envision a new future completely free of past difficulties. I suggested during the session that he was free to consider just how amazing his life could be. This is called future-pace technique, a very powerful way to give deep inner thoughts the new blue print of change.

At the conclusion of the session, Bob was smiling and seemed confidently calm. His demeanor was completely different; he seemed transformed from a stress-obsessed victim to a casually relaxed guy just hanging out with his hypnotist.

I asked Bob how the experience was for him, and he just shook his head in disbelief at how refreshed and liberated he felt. He remembered the past problem, but at that exact moment, it felt as though it was no longer part of who he was. The problem went from defining him, to becoming just a memory of a past difficulty.

I explained  that with repetition, listening to his session daily for a couple of months, this feeling of relief goes from being the exception to becoming the rule. I also told Bob that research says that a little hypnosis goes a long way. Bob was exhilarated when he left the office and said he would be emailing me to schedule another appointment.

By: Paul Gustafson RN CH

Hypnosis-depression connection

You don’t need to be clinically depressed to experience symptoms of depression are sadness. Ongoing emotional stress, physical pain, or unresolved life challenges usually lead to depression-like symptoms sooner or later. Unfortunately the traditional response involves pharmaceuticals or even worse, self-medicating with alcohol or other drugs.

What further complicates the situation is that over time, with repetition, unproductive patterns of sadness, depression, or stress become rooted and automatic. The old cliche, we are creatures of habit, is very true. We can create automatic patterns of action, thought or emotion. Anything that is repeated frequently enough will become rooted in the hard drive, the subconscious mind.

Hypnosis is a great tool offering access to this powerful level of thought, enabling individuals to cathartically release and become free of unproductive patterns and establish new ones supporting healthy relief. My clients not only learn how hypnosis can offer immediate relief, but they also learn the benefit of hypnosis repetition, and how to establish relief that lasts.

By: Paul Gustafson RN CH